Sunday, June 13, 2010

State Arboretum of Virginia

I think I have forgotten how hot it gets in the south during the summer months.  Weren’t we still hiking in snow this time last year?  There is a reason why we go north every summer.

We braved the heat and humidity this afternoon and drove over to the State Arboretum of Virginia.  The Arboretum is located within the 700-acre research center (Blandy Experimental Farm) of the University of Virginia.  Even though the spring wildflowers are long gone and the flowering trees are fully leafed, we enjoyed strolling along the paths of native plants, boxwoods and conifers.  There were plenty of things in bloom, including cactus.

The property was donated to the University by Graham Blandy when he died in 1926.  The Blandy mansion, Tuleyries, is still occupied by his descendants and not part of the Arboretum.  However, the Quarters building, built about 1825, was the slaves’ quarters for the Tuleyries estate.  It now houses offices and laboratories for the arboretum staff and volunteers.

The Quarters Building

After a couple hours in the heat, we came home, got cleaned up, and went out to dinner in celebration of our anniversary.  Gene enjoys wearing hats and, for the first time this summer, he got out his white summer dress hat. Yes, it has a feather in the band.  Rest assured, I was not nearly so dressed up.  Anyway, when we got to the restaurant, were seated, and placed our order we started noticing that different wait staff were bringing our food.  One brought our drinks, another our bread, still another our entrees.  Gene had his hat sitting on the back of the table and each person commented on his hat.  Could it be that they were taking turns just to get a good look at the hat?

Weeping Norway Spruce
Tomorrow we’ll probably go back for a closer look at historic downtown Winchester.  Yesterday, while we were at the Visitors Center, we picked up the map and walking directions for the Volksmarch.  That should give me a good idea whether or not my back is ready for hiking.

That’s all for today.

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